Friday, November 29, 2013

The Gambia: British Businesswoman, 47, Dies in UK From Failure to Take Anti-Malaria Meds

According to The Daily Mail, Briton Jayne Rowley, 47, who made regular trips to The Gambia over the past two decades, suffered a seizure after malaria that attacked every organ in her body. 

Sadly, Rowley died on Wednesday (November 27), simply because she refused to take mandatory anti-malaria medication per her physician's order.

Martin Rowley, 45, Jane's husband, who survived the flu-like symptoms, spoke out this week about his regret that they did not "religiously" take their anti-malaria medication.

Two days after returning from a ten-day break in The Gambia two weeks ago, the couple were rushed to Blackpool Victoria Hospital for treatment. Unfortunately, it was too late for Jayne.

COMMENT: The couple had been staying in their three-bedroom holiday home in the Brufut area of Gambia, which they had owned for two years.

Rather than promptly going to a medical provider, Martin commented: "We had been bed-ridden and we decided we had better go to the hospital to get ourselves checked...We thought it must have been something more sinister than flu because I almost couldn’t walk, it was so bad."

Martin Rowley said he first started showing flu-like symptoms on November 17 and his wife started feeling ill two days later. He was told of Jayne's deteriorating condition on Tuesday (November 26), the day before she died.

Before their visit neither Martin or Jayne had not followed health warnings to regularly take anti-malaria medication before, during and after the trip, although they had been traveling to The Gambia for over 20 years.

The parasite has become resistant to some treatments and, with no effective vaccine, trying to halt the disease has been limited to controlling mosquitoes, distributing pesticide-laced nets for homes and spraying the indoors of buildings with insecticides - the method known as vector control.

Despite a concerted effort on a global scale, the disease still kills around one million people and leaves more than 200 million sick every year.

The couple, who have owned and operated Carpets of Lytham for many years, began feeling unwell after their return, which he had put down to returning to a cold climate.

Martin Rowley’s condition has been treated and on Thursday (November 28) he was discharged from hospital with a course of anti-malaria medication.

The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine said only two people died of the disease in the UK last  year.

Malaria is caused by a tiny parasite which enters the bloodstream when a person is bitten by the female mosquito. 

Worldwide, a child dies of malaria every 30 seconds.

According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), The Gambia is a major tourist destination for British tourists with more than 60,000 visitors a year accounting for 60% of its tourists.

The above being said, perhaps the Foreign Office should do a survey of the 60,000 British tourists to The Gambia to determine how many fail to take anti-malaria medication as ordered?

For a definitive treatment of the symptoms of malaria, treatments available (including anti-malaria medication before, during and following exposure), the use of insecticide-laced netting  and early reporting of symptoms, see: